Netflix not working with VPN? Here’s how to fix it!

4 min
blocked connection to Netflix

So, you’ve decided to start using a VPN. Great choice! You might notice some websites appear a little different now. Don’t worry! They often slightly adjust themselves to your location or browsing habits. But sometimes it gets worse. For example, you might be unable to use Netflix with a VPN.

Netflix’s contents are subject to availability limits. They might be imposed both in time and space. It means that, first, your favorite series might someday be gone from the platform, never to return. Second, the titles available on Netflix depend on where you are located. The platform, like many websites of all kinds, employs geolocation tools to track your position. Then, the contents get adjusted to allow viewing only the pieces that are territorially accessible. For many years, this could be simply circumvented by remotely connecting to an intermediary device, located in a different region of the world.

This describes a VPN service. You can be anywhere in the world, but when connecting via a VPN server from a specific spot, your geolocation changes to whichever country and city you choose. So far, so good.

Does Netflix block VPNs?

Nowadays in many cases, you’ll find Netflix VPN not working. If you try watching it when connected via a VPN anyway, you’ll be shown a Netflix VPN error. The message might mention you’re using a proxy, a VPN, or a little mysterious ‘unblocker’. Netflix’s help center advises to just turn the VPN off. You might also get redirected to the main page, different from the one you know. It shows only chosen pieces, the ones to which Netflix owns global rights. They don’t get blocked anywhere, since they can be watched everywhere. So yes, Netflix blocks VPNs. The Internet geeks even have a specific name for that: Netflix VPN ban. But what is its purpose?

Why does Netflix block VPNs?

Bypassing geo-blocking techniques stopped being easy several years ago. Netflix and Sony signed a contract, which has afterward leaked to the public. It imposed geolocation as well as geolocation bypass detection. It effectively meant Netflix banning VPNs. So, it was the movie producers who forced this restriction. First, it means that Sony was forcing Netflix to detect VPN usage. The recognition is the hard part. The blocking itself comes down to just showing the user an altered website with limited content. Here comes a question, then:

Why is my VPN not working on Netflix?

If you encounter errors and can’t watch Netflix with a VPN, it is because your online activities are observed quite closely. This obviously includes analyzing your IP address, a basic feature of any online connection. Connecting via a VPN means altering your apparent IP address. But a lot of information about IP is available freely. The architecture of the whole Internet depends on that. Therefore, a remote entity like Netflix can quickly verify what sort of IP you have. This is the basis of VPN detection.

There are specialized companies who maintain blacklists of IPs, associated with VPN usage. It is unknown what service Netflix uses to block VPNs. Being a large entrepreneurship, they might have created their own VPN detection team. Anyway, there is one typical pattern by which VPN IPs get exposed. Those are known and popular services, so hundreds of people might connect to a given VPN server at the same time. Its address is shared among them all. If a network expert manages to recognize they don’t reside in the same building, but in various countries, then most probably it’s a VPN server.

Netflix has been successfully blocking VPNs for years now this way: by checking if your IP is linked to a known VPN data center. Another indication is monitoring how your IP is altering. The mere IP change isn’t surprising, your IP might be dynamic. But if it appears as if you’re frequently jumping hundreds of miles using a VPN, Netflix blocks it.

Netflix doesn’t work with VPN – what can I do?

If you don’t appreciate Netflix blocking VPNs, you’re neither alone nor powerless. One piece of technical information is crucial for VPN not working for Netflix. Protocols working for a VPN connection don’t use any indicator proving that this is a VPN. If Netflix had your VPN blocked, it was deduced (probably by IP) but not certain. It means VPN not working for Netflix can be helped.

The first thing you can try if Netflix blocks your VPN is to change the server. Most VPN apps allow this and it is not a complicated thing to do. If you can’t find this option in your VPN, it might be just named differently: changing location (which is essentially switching to another server located in a different place). You should, however, know that it might not work if Netflix blocks the IP of the other server as well (which is quite probable actually). And second, changing your location while being connected to Netflix will be noticed. Your VPN might not work because of the sudden location change, not because the destination server was already blocked. So, what’s a better option?

Choose a different VPN service

Don’t try to overcome the Netflix VPN ban by yourself. It’s pointless unless you’re an exper. Instead, carefully choose a VPN service capable of working on Netflix. Regarding ordinary VPNs, it might be tough so you’ll need to do a little research.

Search for a VPN that clearly states it uses server obfuscation. It’s like masking a device or a networking protocol, so they don’t appear like working for a VPN. Another desirable trait is frequent IP rotation. Many providers change their IP pools periodically to avoid getting blacklisted. The point is to do it often enough. Sadly, just any regular VPN might not be working on Netflix. It resembles an arms race. The viewing platform hires experts who strive to detect VPNs. Their close colleagues strive to hide VPNs because they work for the providers. At any given moment, one or the others might have the upper hand, without a definitive winner.

Try a residential VPN!

Residential VPN is a specific sort of this service, independent of servers in data centers. Instead, it relies on the users themselves. They all agree to participate in a pool of shared IP addresses. As a result, everyone connects via another person’s real IP. It is typically assigned to a house, hence the name ‘residential’. Very few users share a common IP, if they are shared at all. That’s contrary to a VPN server in a data center, which handles a multitude of users simultaneously. This has a crucial side effect: residential VPNs are much harder to track! After all, they don’t use actual VPN servers. TuxlerVPN offers this type of VPN, even in the free edition.

Sadly, Netflix and movie studios persist in blocking VPN users. It could be better in the future, but it would require a major change regarding content distribution policy. Not an easy or quick process. In the meantime, choose the best service to prevent Netflix from not working with VPN and enjoy your favorite shows!

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